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Remembering Gloria Vanderbilt: The Broadsheet

June 18, 2019, 12:01 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! U.S. women’s soccer games generate more revenue than the men’s, U.K. supermarket workers fight for equal pay, and we remember Gloria Vanderbilt. Have a terrific Tuesday.

Good-bye to a denim doyenneYesterday morning, news broke that Gloria Vanderbilt had died in her home in Manhattan. She was 95.

While the passing of a cultural touchstone is always a sad occasion, it's also an opportunity to remind yourself of the life the person led—and in Vanderbilt's case, what a life it was! I recommend taking the time to read the New York Times's obit in full; even at more than 3,000 words, it struggles to contain the novelesque sweep of her nine-plus decades.

Her story includes family betrayals, a high-profile custody battle, famous lovers, the possession and loss of vast wealth, a quartet of marriages, the death of a child, a run as a fashion icon, a literary legacy, and much, much more.

I was particularly struck by Vanderbilt's time promoting her namesake denim line in the 1970s. While she didn't design the jeans herself, her decision to put herself out there as the face and name of the brand was a bold one—the NYT reports that she was the "first American to exploit a famous family name" to sell her wares. It was a move that paved the way for Jessica Simpson, Serena Williams, Victoria Beckham, and of course, myriad Kardashians/Jenners.

The gamble paid off, and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans grew into a $100 million-a-year business. Despite having come from a wealthy family, it was a big moment for Vanderbilt, reports the Times:

"After years of living on inherited money, Ms. Vanderbilt had a share of the profits and a burgeoning income of her own—$10 million in 1980 alone—and it felt good.

'I’m not knocking inherited money,' she told The New York Times in 1985, 'but the money I’ve made has a reality to me that inherited money doesn’t have. As the Billie Holiday song goes, ‘Mama may have and Papa may have, but God bless the child that’s got his own.’'"

So while it's fair to remember Vanderbilt as the society heiress that she very much was, let's not forget that she was also a fashion marketing force and risk-taking entrepreneur. New York Times

Kristen Bellstrom


Equal revenue, equal pay. It's official: in the three years after the U.S. Women's National Team won the World Cup in 2015, their games generated more revenue than the men's. That number will be important in the women's gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. In France, meanwhile, broadcasters are bumping up the prices of advertising slots as the women's team breaks viewing records. Wall Street Journal

Barra on jobs. In an interview with Axios, GM CEO Mary Barra talked about the company's self-driving future and how workers will be affected. "We have to be prepared...We can't pretend it's not coming," she says. Axios

Wellness with your toothpaste. Do you need an affirmation when you put on your deodorant? Procter & Gamble has teamed up with Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global, Fortune's Sy Mukherjee reports. The partnership is about turning P&G's common household products—Pampers, Venus, Crest—into "wellness boosters." Fortune

MP maternity leave. Labour MP Stella Creasy writes for The Guardian about being forced to choose between serving in the U.K. Parliament and motherhood. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority doesn't account for members' maternity leave, leaving budgets for municipal work and constituency casework uncovered. Creasy compares her experience to that of MP Tulip Siddiq, who delayed a C-section to vote on a Brexit deal. Guardian

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Sherry Lowe joins Expanse as CMO.


 Tired of unequal pay at Tesco. Supermarket workers are fighting for equal pay in the U.K. At Asda, Tesco, Wm Morrison, J Sainsbury, and the Co-op, store employees—mostly women—say they are paid less than staff in the distribution depots, who are mostly men. Financial Times

HK protests. While Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam agreed to shelve the controversial legislation that would have allowed extradition to mainland China, protesters weren't satisfied with her apology or what it took to get the bill killed, instead calling for Lam's resignation. Lam publicly apologized on Tuesday. She didn't agree to resign, but said, "as for my governance in the future, it will be difficult.” New York Times

Snap's secret. As Snap tries to continue the recovery of its flagship app, chief business officer Jeremi Gorman is one of its best assets. Gorman came to Snap from Amazon—a decision she says was fueled by adrenaline, like riding a tricycle down a mountain: "If I didn't have that in my DNA, I probably wouldn't work here." CNN

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


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